Are Ohio Democrats trying to ditch Biden?

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President Joe Biden delivers a speech at Max S. Hayes High School in Cleveland.

Happy Wednesday. I hope you’re having a better day than the postal workers who found envelopes full of feces intended for Republican state senators last week.

President Joe Biden visited Cleveland last week to tout his administration’s efforts to secure funds for troubled pension plans. It was his third trip to the Buckeye State this year and sixth since taking office in 2021.

Biden was flanked by Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown and Reps. Marcy Kaptur and Shontel Brown as he talked about uplifting the middle class and blasted Republicans for not backing his pension bill. Republicans in turn accused the president of not doing enough to combat inflation.

They also had fun pointing out two Democrats who missed the event: U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan and former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley. (Reminder: Ryan is running against J.D. Vance in Ohio’s Senate race, and Whaley is challenging Gov. Mike DeWine.)

GOP leaders speculated that Ryan and Whaley didn’t want to stand next to Biden in an election year while Ohioans deal with high gas prices. Vance’s campaign peppered social media all day with photos of Ryan and Biden together, plus clips from when Ryan campaigned for the president in 2020.

Politically, Biden is tough for Democrats. His approval ratings are awful. The economy was top of mind for Ohioans in a recent USA TODAY Network Ohio/Suffolk University poll, and nearly half of voters said they want the direction of the country to change.

“Tim Ryan and Nan Whaley are now desperate to hide from Joe Biden and the very failures they supported, including skyrocketing gas prices, real wages falling, and soaring inflation that are crushing Ohio working families,” Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Paduchik said.

Whaley and Ryan dismissed the attacks, and both campaigns already had events scheduled that day.

From Ryan spokeswoman Izzi Levy: “Last Wednesday, Tim was doing what he’s done since launching his U.S. Senate campaign last year: aggressively barnstorming across the state to hear directly from Ohioans about the challenges they’re facing, and to share how he’ll fight like hell for them in the U.S. Senate.”

Whaley spokeswoman Courtney Rice used Paduchik’s statement to call out DeWine: “Only one candidate in the Ohio governor’s race is addressing the impact rising costs are having on Ohio families – whether it’s proposing a temporary gas tax suspension or calling for an inflation rebate to deal with the rising costs of gas, medicine, and groceries – and it certainly isn’t Mike DeWine.”

Fox and friends

Speaking of Ryan: His campaign dropped a new ad on Fox News this week highlighting clips from interviews with Fox anchors that referred to him as moderate and supportive of “kitchen table issues.” It’s part of a broader effort to appeal to voters in the middle in a state that’s turned increasingly red.

Meanwhile, Ryan has centered much of his campaign in recent weeks around abortion rights and just secured a nod from Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio.

Time will tell whether his “kitchen table” strategy pays off.

Former U.S. Attorney Steve Dettelbach testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearing to be the next director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

New ATF director hails from Ohio

The U.S. Senate confirmed Steve Dettelbach on Tuesday to serve as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, making him the first permanent head of the agency in seven years. Sen. Rob Portman was one of two Republicans to vote for him.

Dettelbach was a U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio from 2009 to 2016 and worked as a federal prosecutor for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights division. Most recently, he’s been a partner at BakerHostetler in Cleveland, largely dealing with white collar crime.

He lost a bid for Ohio attorney general to Dave Yost in 2018.

Biden nominated Dettelbach earlier this year, but his confirmation was all but certain after years of blocked nominees by gun rights advocates. Recent mass shootings in Highland Park, Illinois, Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo increased pressure to get Dettelbach across the finish line, USA TODAY reported.

“I can think of no better way to support law enforcement, to reject hate and to keep Americans safe from violent crime than for the Senate to confirm Steve Dettelbach,” Brown said on the Senate floor.

Thanks for sticking around for the second edition of The Scoop and continuing to support The Dispatch. When this launched, I dangled promises of cat photos to persuade people to sign up. That day is here.

He doesn’t like politics, but he does enjoy leash walks and fancy food.

Catch you all next week,

Haley BeMiller, political reporter

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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Are Ohio Democrats trying to ditch Biden?